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Volume 26 Issue 3 - Publication Date: 1 March 2007
 
Modular Reactive Neurocontrol for Biologically Inspired Walking Machines
 
P. Manoonpong Fraunhofer Institut für Autonome Intelligente Systeme (AIS), Sankt Augustin, Germany. Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience (BCCN), University of Göttingen, Germany, F. Pasemann Fraunhofer Institut für Autonome Intelligente Systeme (AIS), Sankt Augustin, Germany and H. Roth Institut für Regelungs und Steuerungstechnik (RST), University of Siegen, Germany.
 
A neurocontroller is described which generates the basic locomotion and controls the sensor-driven behavior of a four-legged and a sixlegged walking machine. The controller utilizes discrete-time neurodynamics, and is of modular structure. One module is for processing sensor signals, one is a neural oscillator network serving as a central pattern generator, and the third one is a so-called velocity regulating network. These modules are small and their structures and their functionalities are analyzable. In combination, they enable the machines to autonomously explore an unknown environment, to avoid obstacles, and to escape from corners or deadlock situations. The neurocontroller was developed and tested first using a physical simulation environment, and then it was successfully transferred to the physical walking machines. Locomotion is based on a gait where the diagonal legs are paired and move together, e.g. trot gait for the four-legged walking machine and tripod gait for the six-legged walking machine. The controller developed is universal in the sense that it can easily be adapted to different types of even-legged walking machines without changing the internal structure and its parameters.
 
Multimedia Key
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Example 1: The reactive behavior of the four and six-legged walking machines (AMOS-WD02 and -WD06) simulated on the physical simulator YARS. The left panel shows the simulated walking machine with its virtual environment. The right panel shows the reactive neurocontroller and the activation of each neuron. (35.0 MB) avi
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Example 2: The physical walking machines (AMOS-WD02 and -WD06) and their reactive behaviors in different environmental situations. (21.0 MB) avi
 
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